After the tennis match had ended, both Akari and Ryo had gone home for the day. I ended up staying a little longer in order to wash up in the locker room before going home. This also gave me some time alone to chat with Red.
"Are you alright after taking that blow to the head?"
"I've been through literal musket fire, a little bruise is nothing."
I wouldn't exactly call it a "little" bruise. He had a massive cartoonish lump on his forehead that stuck out almost like a third horn.
"Are you sure you're good? Is there some kind of devil doctor or something that can check you for a concussion?"
"I'm an immortal being! Do you honestly think I would ever need to see a doctor?"
"I don't know. I thought maybe it's one of those cases where you're only immortal to natural causes, sort of like Master Ro-."
He quickly cut me off,
"Woah woah, I swear how many times do I have to remind you! That company in particular is ruthless when it comes to copyright."
"Oh sorry, I forgot...again."
"Seriously, this is like the fourth time. You're going to end up getting me sued."
Red and I left the locker room and made our way over to the shoe lockers. As I put on my street shoes, he pointed at the sky, which just became dark and cloudy.
"Do you see that?"
"What, the rain?"
"Ha ha, You have an umbrella, right?"
He had a mischievous look on his face.
"Of course I do, but what does that have to do with anything?"
"I swear, you really are clueless aren't you. This is a golden opportunity for you to meet a girl."
"I'm still not following you. How is rain going to help me get a girlfriend?"
"You're a dork that watches anime, you should know this cliche. It's simple, just wait around for some girl who forgot her umbrella. Then go over and offer to share yours with her and walk her home."
"I got you. That's not a bad Idea."
"Great, now just sit and wait patiently. Hopefully you can manage to find a girl that isn't crazy in a serial killer way, like that art chick."
Red and I casually stood at the school's entrance and waited... and waited... and waited...Until!
"Loo-... Oh nevermind that's just some dude." I said, disappointed.
I proceeded to wait some more. Twenty minutes probably had passed and no females had come that way. Suddenly, I heard a locker door open. I curiously peeked around to the other side.
"Shoot, it's Mei." I whispered to Red.
I tried to slowly back up, hoping she wouldn't notice me.
I had forgotten to tie my shoes and tripped over the laces. Mei came over to investigate.
"Oh it's you, Kuro-kun. What are you doing on the ground?"
"N-nothing, I was just about to leave."
I quickly walked past her, trying to avoid having to interact any further. As I exited the school, Red crawled into my backpack and I opened up my umbrella to begin my walk home.
*Splash* *splash* *splash*
"I forgot mine today. We're headed the same way anyways. I hope you don't mind."
She pressed up uncomfortably close to me under the umbrella.
"I-I guess that's alright." I said, reluctantly.
I supposed I couldn't avoid her forever. We lived next door to each other. It was inevitable that I'd have to face her at some point.
Side by side, We walked down the sidewalk. It was completely pouring. I could feel my socks getting wet as I stepped through puddles.
"It's been a while since we walked home together, hasn't it?" She said.
"Yeah, I guess it has..."
There was an awkward silence for a few moments. Then she spoke again,
"I can't believe how much has changed in just a few weeks. We used to be together all the time, now I hardly ever see you."
"It's just how things turned out."
She inched her way a little closer to me.
"So what's with that Akari girl? Are you two in a relationship or something?"
I could sense a tinge of jealousy in her voice.
"No, we're just friends. She's been a really big help to me. I probably would have quit if it wasn't for her."
She cast me an insincere concerned look.
"To be honest with you, Kuro. I'm not so sure about that girl. Don't you find it a little odd she's helping you despite getting nothing out of it."
"That's not true, I've been helping her with a certain issue of hers too."
"I don't know. Even if, I think she may have an ulterior motive behind all this... But anyways, there's something else I've been wondering. Someone I know saw you at the mall with some blue haired girl, it looked like you two were on a date or something."
"Yeah, that was Kishi-san from the art club."
"Wait...you mean that weird girl from the art club? That girl's creepy, why would you hang out with someone like her?"
Her comments began to get under my skin. I couldn't help but to snap on her a bit,
"You know Mei, I'd appreciate it if you minded your own business! My personal life is none of your concern. Also could you keep your opinions about other people to yourself. Akari, Ryo, and even Kanna have been better friends to me than anyone on the student council ever was."
Unlike a few weeks ago when I went off on her, she didn't cry. Instead she grabbed my arm and hugged me.
"Sorry, I just get a little jealous... I always sort of hoped we'd end up together one day... The truth is that I've always liked you, Kuro-kun. Ever since we were little kids."
I stopped walking for a moment and paused.
"Do you think I'm stupid or something?"I said, coldly.
"Wh-what do you mean? I'm just telling you how I've always felt."
"You're delusional. Am I supposed to believe someone who claims they have feelings for me would just sit back and let me get taken advantage of for over a year and then let false rumors about me get spread around the school?"
"Oops my finger slipped." I said, sarcastically.
I intentionally closed the umbrella, causing both of us to get drenched.
"Here, just take it. I forgot something at school anyways."
I tossed her my umbrella and proceeded to run in the opposite direction. Her face was completely blank. I wasn't sure if she was angry or sad or regretful or a combination. If she was crying, the rain covered it up.
I kept running until I got to a bus stop with a canopy over it. I just sat on the bench not sure how I should feel. It was dark now and the rain just kept coming down.
"Did I make the right choice back there?"
Red popped out of my bag.
"The only thing you should be regretting is not having a waterproof backpack."
"I'm being serious. This isn't the time for your jokes."
"I don't understand. What are you so down about? You gave her what she had coming."
"That's the thing, she was my childhood friend and I just burned a bridge between us. To be perfectly honest with you, I used to like her too. It hurt a lot having to reject her just now."
Red put his hand on my shoulder.
"What you did was honorable. You could have easily been blinded by naive feelings, but instead you stuck by your principles."
"I guess you're right. What's done is done. I just need to look forward."
"Exactly, there's plenty of fish in the sea. You just need to find one that isn't crazy, a narcissist, a sociopath, or a tsundere."
Eventually the rain let up and Red and I were able to make my way home. It was late at night when we finally got back and I went right to sleep the moment my head hit my pillow.